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Intertemporal Choice and the Cross Sectional Variance of Marginal Utility

The theory of intertemporal choice predicts that the cross-sectional variance of the marginal utility of consumption is equal to its own lag plus a constant and a random component. Using general preference specifications and some assumptions about the nature of the random component, we provide an explicit test of this hypothesis. Our approach circumvents the necessity to identify a pure age profile of the cross sectional variance of consumption and yields a well specified statistical test. This test is applied to data from the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. The results are remarkably consistent with the restrictions implied by the theory of intertemporal consumption choices.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 06.1998.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 1998
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Publication status: Published in Review of Economics and Statistics, February 2001, vol. 83, issue 1, pages 13-27
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:06.1998
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  1. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 631-49, July.
  3. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
  4. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  5. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
  6. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, March.
  8. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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